One forgets how much of a choke hold carriers have in the United States and I guess in some sense Europe. It seems the biggest thing the unwashed bloggers are talking about in the states is that you can now buy an unlocked phone. Wow. Yawning here. Folks – in Asia we have been doing this for over 10 years. I can walk up to any phone store and buy a phone unlocked and just drop my sim card in it. Sure, if I wanted to buy a subsidized phone, I might have to put up with it being locked but a simple trip to MBK(Thailand) or SimLim(Singapore) and I can pay a nominal fee to have it unlocked. Big deal.
It is funny to me that people think this is such a big thing when in reality this is just the US now experiencing what Asia has had for years. We buy phones at will, trade them, upgrade them, downgrade them and use them pretty much on any network we buy a plan for. Hell – we even get them cheaply repaired when needed. The way it should be. So I guess if the only good to come out of this Nexus overhype is that in the US one can buy an unlocked phone then cool but wow – this is just not that big of a deal folks.
Now, that may sound a bit extreme, but just look at what Google did today. They launched an unlocked phone that you can buy directly from them. Now, this first device may not have much of an impact because it’s too expensive ($529.00) for its limitations (it will only fully work on T-Mobile in the U.S.), but it’s a first step. More importantly, look at the page pictured below. Is there any question what Google is doing here? They’re taking the traditional mobile model in this country, where you first choose your carrier, and then choose your phone, and turning it upside down. It’s what Apple started with the iPhone. But Google goes farther, because they already have multiple carriers (in this case, T-Mobile and Verizon, coming this Spring).